State website compares insurance premiums


To drive legally, you have to have auto insurance and smart motorists shop around for price. That's what Chris Duke did. "The commercials are catchy. You remember their names, but for the most part, it's just on price. Search everyone, whoever has the best one," he says. After shopping around, Chris went with Progressive Insurance, the company Meggie Sichi left when she shopped around. "A family friend works for Farmers," she explained. "I actually originally was with Progressive and they got it lower, Farmers."

Finding the best insurance deal can be an ordeal, but a new state comparison website takes a lot of the hassle out of the process. Consumer Action's Joe Ridout showed 7 On Your Side how it works. "You choose what kind of insurance you want," he explained. He typed into the website details for a shopper that was a 40-year-old male living in San Fransico's Sunset District. He added in that the shopper had been driving for nine years and was a good driver.

The site listed dozens of companies selling car insurance in California. "As you can see, the numbers are all over the map," Ridout said. Mercury Insurance had an annual premium of just $556. Fireman's Fund had one of $1,752. "When you run the numbers, it's eye opening because you can find that one policy of the same product is three times as much as another one, for just basic liability auto insurance in California," Ridout said.

The problem has been how to compare and where, but with this website, a lot of the work is taken out of the effort. "We often will spend hours trying to compare how to save $40 or $50 on an Xbox or a plane ticket, but we don't spend that much time comparing even pricier expenditures for items like auto insurance. Now, with this tool that the Department of Insurance has for us, we can do that and save even more money," Ridout said.

Click here to see the insurance comparison.

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